We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

MPs: Government should stop 'scaring' web users over cyber crime

Commons Science and Technology Committee wants TV campaign and Get Safe Online site promoted better

A group of MPs have called for the government to stop "scaring people" when it comes to the dangers of cyber crime.

According to Andrew Miller MP, who is chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, the government should instead be focussing on "raising awareness of how to stay safe online".

"Despite the increasing use of malware, the internet is still a reasonably safe place to go about one's business, provided users take a few sensible precautions," he said.

"Government departments need to realise that better public information about computer safety could save huge numbers of people the hassle of having their personal details stolen."

The Committee wants the government to create a "prolonged awareness raising campaign" to increase public understanding of personal online security.

Miller also highlighted the fact there is no single first point of advice and help for UK web users and much of the information about internet security that does exist online is "often technical or jargon filled".

The group believes a TV campaign would be the best method of gaining the widest exposure. It also thinks more should be done to promote the existing Government website Get Safe Online, including bundling advice from Get Safe Online with every device capable of accessing the internet, as well as seeing all government websites should link to the resource while also highlighting the latest security updates.

"We are asking the Government to provide details of how they intend to engender greater trust in online products and services within the UK population," said Miller.

Last year, the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) teamed up with Google in a bid to promote online safety in the UK. The Good to Know campaign was designed to encourage UK web users to take steps to ensure they're more secure when surfing the web such as using secure passwords and two-step authentication.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, agrees that greater awareness and education regarding internet threats is a key element in fighting cyber crime.

"Simple, easy-to-understand language is by far the best way to help computer users understand how to protect themselves online, and we are keen supporters of the government-backed GetSafeOnline website.  A key challenge however for sites and resources like this, is that they tend to be known about only by those already involved in IT security, rather than the average person in the street.  The only way to change this is by a properly funded broad awareness campaign," he said.

He also called for more support in the international fight against cybercrime.

“Investigating crimes with an international element is inevitably costly and complicated - but as this is the nature of the criminal behaviour, it must be addressed."

 Cluley said independent way of measuring the cyber threat that's out there was also required.

"Much of the data used by the report is supplied by security vendors, who - one can argue - could have a vested interest in hyping up the internet threat," he said.

"To avoid such accusations, proper systems *must* be put in place to make it easy for citizens to report internet crimes and malware attacks.  This could start with better training of the police force as to how cybercrime works, to make many computer users more comfortable in reporting cybercrime to their local police."


IDG UK Sites

Moto G2 (2014) vs Moto E comparison review: New Moto G is worth the extra cash

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype hands-on: it's an amazing experience

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...